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Concept: Aluminium


We have found that the addition of tin nanoparticles to a silicon-based anode provides dramatic improvements in performance in terms of both charge capacity and cycling stability. Using a simple procedure and off-the-shelf additives and precursors, we developed a structure in which the tin nanoparticles are segregated at the interface between the silicon-containing active layer and the solid electrolyte interface. Even a minor addition of tin, as small as ∼2% by weight, results in a significant decrease in the anode resistance, as confirmed by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. This leads to a decrease in charge transfer resistance, which prevents the formation of electrically inactive “dead spots” in the anode structure and enables the effective participation of silicon in the lithiation reaction.

Concepts: Cathode, Michael Faraday, Electrochemistry, Aluminium, Battery, Electrolyte, Electrode, Anode


We report a novel approach to synthesize chemical vapor deposition-grown three-dimensional graphene nano-networks (3D-GNs) that can be mass produced with large-area coverage. Annealing of a PVA/iron precursor under a hydrogen environment, infiltrated into 3D-assembled-colloidal silicas reduces iron ions and generates few-layer graphene by precipitation of carbon on the iron surface. The 3D-GN can be grown on any electronic device-compatible substrate, such as Al2O3, Si, GaN, or Quartz. The conductivity and surface area of a 3D-GN are 52 S/cm and 1,025 m(2)/g, respectively, which are much better than the previously reported values. Furthermore, electrochemical double-layer capacitors based on the 3D-GN have superior supercapacitor performance with a specific capacitance of 245 F/g and 96.5% retention after 6,000 cycles due to the outstanding conductivity and large surface area. The excellent performance of the 3D-GN as an electrode for supercapacitors suggests the great potential of interconnected graphene networks in nano-electronic devices and energy-related materials.

Concepts: Earth, Hydrogen, Industrial Revolution, Carbon, Aluminium, Chemical vapor deposition, Silicon carbide, Surface area


This paper describes a microparticle delivery device that generates a plasma jet through laser ablation of a thin metal foil and uses the jet to accomplish particle delivery into soft living targets for transferring biological agents. Pure gold microparticles of 1 µm size were coated with a plasmid DNA, pIG121Hm, and were deposited as a thin layer on one surface of an aluminum foil. The laser (Nd:YAG, 1064 nm wavelength) ablation of the foil generated a plasma jet that carried the DNA coated particles into the living onion cells. The particles could effectively penetrate the target cells and disseminate the DNA, effecting the transfection of the cells. Generation of the plasma jet on laser ablation of the foil and its role as a carrier of microparticles was visualized using a high-speed video camera, Shimadzu HPV-1, at a frame rate of 500 kfps (2 µs interframe interval) in a shadowgraph optical set-up. The particle speed could be measured from the visualized images, which was about 770 m/s initially, increased to a magnitude of 1320 m/s, and after a quasi-steady state over a distance of 10 mm with an average magnitude of 1100 m/s, started declining, which typically is the trend of a high-speed, pulsed, compressible jet. Aluminum launch pad (for the particles) was used in the present study to make the procedure cost-effective, whereas the guided, biocompatible launch pads made of gold, silver or titanium can be used in the device during the actual clinical operations. The particle delivery device has a potential to have a miniature form and can be an effective, hand-held drug/DNA delivery device for biological applications.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Molecular biology, Organism, Laser, Plasmid, Aluminium, Gold


We report hot filament thermal CVD (HFTCVD) as a new hybrid of hot filament and thermal CVD and demonstrate its feasibility by producing high quality large area strictly monolayer graphene films on Cu substrates. Gradient in gas composition and flow rate that arises due to smart placement of the substrate inside the Ta filament wound alumina tube accompanied by radical formation on Ta due to precracking coupled with substrate mediated physicochemical processes like diffusion, polymerization etc., led to graphene growth. We further confirmed our mechanistic hypothesis by depositing graphene on Ni and SiO(2)/Si substrates. HFTCVD can be further extended to dope graphene with various heteroatoms (H, N, and B, etc.,), combine with functional materials (diamond, carbon nanotubes etc.,) and can be extended to all other materials (Si, SiO(2), SiC etc.,) and processes (initiator polymerization, TFT processing) possible by HFCVD and thermal CVD.

Concepts: Carbon, Aluminium, Carbon nanotube, Graphite, Graphene, Materials science, Chemical vapor deposition, Silicon carbide


We have investigated the influences of aluminum and gallium dopants (0 to 2.0 mol%) on zinc oxide (ZnO) thin films regarding crystallization and electrical and optical properties for application in transparent conducting oxide devices. Al- and Ga-doped ZnO thin films were deposited on glass substrates (corning 1737) by sol–gel spin-coating process. As a starting material, AlCl3.6H2O, Ga(NO3)2, and Zn(CH3COO)2.2H2O were used. A lowest sheet resistance of 3.3 x 103 [greek capital letter omega]/[white square] was obtained for the GZO thin film doped with 1.5 mol% of Ga after post-annealing at 650 [degree sign]C for 60 min in air. All the films showed more than 85 % transparency in the visible region. We have studied the structural and microstructural properties as a function of Al and Ga concentrations through X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy analysis. In addition, the optical bandgap and photoluminescence were estimated.

Concepts: Electron, X-ray, Optical fiber, Aluminium, Zinc, X-ray crystallography, Scanning electron microscope, Zinc oxide


This work presents a novel white light device. An yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) phosphor-incorporated zinc oxide (ZnO) film is deposited on a slide glass substrate by ultrasonic spray pyrolysis. A nanoflower consisting of a hexagonal nanopetal is formed on the surfaces of the samples, and the sizes of the nanopetal are approximately 200 to 700 nm. Additionally, the nanopetal becomes blunted with an increasing incorporated amount of YAG. As the incorporated amount is 1.5 and 2.5 wt.%, the photoluminescence color of the YAG-incorporated ZnO film is nearly white, possibly contributing to the YAG emission and the band-to-deep level transition in the ZnO film.

Concepts: Aluminium, Zinc, Color, Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxide, Yttrium aluminium garnet, Garnet, Yttrium


The effects of microbial iron reduction and oxidation on the immobilization and mobilization of copper was investigated in a high concentration of sulfate with synthesized Fe(III) minerals and red earth soils rich in amorphous Fe (hydr)oxides. Batch microcosm experiments showed that red earth soil inoculated with subsurface sediments had a faster Fe(III) bioreduction rate than pure amorphous Fe(III) minerals and resulted in quicker immobilization of Cu in the aqueous fraction. Coinciding with the decrease of aqueous Cu, SO4(2-) in the inoculated red earth soil decreased acutely after incubation. The shift in the microbial community composite in the inoculated soil was analyzed through denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. Results revealed the potential cooperative effect of microbial Fe(III) reduction and sulfate reduction on copper immobilization. After exposure to air for 144 h, more than 50% of the immobilized Cu was remobilized from the anaerobic matrices; aqueous sulfate increased significantly. Sequential extraction analysis demonstrated that the organic matter/sulfide-bound Cu increased by 52% after anaerobic incubation relative to the abiotic treatment but decreased by 32% after oxidation, indicating the generation and oxidation of Cu-sulfide co-precipitates in the inoculated red earth soil. These findings suggest that the immobilization of copper could be enhanced by mediating microbial Fe(III) reduction with sulfate reduction under anaerobic conditions. The findings have an important implication for bioremediation in Cu-contaminated and Fe-rich soils, especially in acid mine drainage (AMD)-affected sites.

Concepts: Archaea, Iron, Hydrogen, Redox, Nitrogen, Aluminium, Zinc, Bioremediation


Processing and manipulation of highly conductive pristine graphene in large quantities are still major challenges in the practical application of graphene for electric device. In the present study, we report the liquid-phase exfoliation of graphite in toluene using well-defined poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) to produce a P3HT/graphene composite. We synthesize and use regioregular P3HT with controlled molecular weights as conductive dispersants for graphene. Simple ultrasonication of graphite flakes with the P3HT successfully produces single-layer and few-layer graphene sheets dispersed in toluene. The produced P3HT/graphene composite can be used as conductive graphene ink, indicating that the P3HT/graphene composite has high electrical conductivity owing to the high conductivity of P3HT and graphene. The P3HT/graphene composite also works as an oxidation-resistant and conductive film for a copper substrate, which is due to the high gas-barrier property of graphene.

Concepts: Electricity, Electrical conductor, Aluminium, Copper, Graphite, Graphene, Electrical conductivity, Fullerene


Several Mousterian sites in France have yielded large numbers of small black blocs. The usual interpretation is that these ‘manganese oxides’ were collected for their colouring properties and used in body decoration, potentially for symbolic expression. Neanderthals habitually used fire and if they needed black material for decoration, soot and charcoal were readily available, whereas obtaining manganese oxides would have incurred considerably higher costs. Compositional analyses lead us to infer that late Neanderthals at Pech-de-l'Azé I were deliberately selecting manganese dioxide. Combustion experiments and thermo-gravimetric measurements demonstrate that manganese dioxide reduces wood’s auto-ignition temperature and substantially increases the rate of char combustion, leading us to conclude that the most beneficial use for manganese dioxide was in fire-making. With archaeological evidence for fire places and the conversion of the manganese dioxide to powder, we argue that Neanderthals at Pech-de-l'Azé I used manganese dioxide in fire-making and produced fire on demand.

Concepts: Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Magnesium, Nitrogen, Aluminium, Oxides, Chlorine, Logic


The ability to pattern planar and freestanding 3D metallic architectures at the microscale would enable myriad applications, including flexible electronics, displays, sensors, and electrically small antennas. A 3D printing method is introduced that combines direct ink writing with a focused laser that locally anneals printed metallic features “on-the-fly.” To optimize the nozzle-to-laser separation distance, the heat transfer along the printed silver wire is modeled as a function of printing speed, laser intensity, and pulse duration. Laser-assisted direct ink writing is used to pattern highly conductive, ductile metallic interconnects, springs, and freestanding spiral architectures on flexible and rigid substrates.

Concepts: Electricity, Heat, Aluminium, Metal, Copper, Silver, Printing, Inkjet printer